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THE HUNGRY GHOST
A MEDITATION ON MODERN LOVE, DIVORCE, AND THE DARK SIDE OF DESIRE
She’ll eat you up.
In debut-author Dalena Storm’s The Hungry Ghost [Black Spot Books, June 11, 2019] a hungry ghost takes possession of a woman’s unconscious body and attempts to consume everything she once loved—including her ex-husband, her lesbian lover, and her own mother.
Six-months freshly out of a divorce from Peter, her alcoholic husband, and downtrodden after a lifetime of putting herself second, Sam is struggling to take the next steps with her much younger paramour, Madeline. When a freak accident puts Sam in a coma, she finds herself in a newfound world of tranquility while, in the waking world of her hospital room, both Peter and Madeline continue to lust hungrily after the woman who is the object of their heart’s desires.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Sam’s selfish lovers’ unrequited desire is enough to stoke the appetite of a hungry ghost that is lurking on the other side of existence, waiting for an opportunity to escape its captivity. While Sam sleeps, Peter, Madeline, and Sam's well-meaning family all endeavor to prove their love for Sam: Peter is consumed with the desire to win his wife back, Madeline to capture Sam’s heart forever, and her mother, Bianca, just wants her baby girl alive and well. While Sam’s consciousness explores life outside the confines of her everyday reality, the hungry ghost claims Sam’s body, awakening from the accident-induced coma and entering the world of the living, where it has one, singular goal: to consume. Meanwhile, on the other side of Boston, Sam’s consciousness has found a new home in the body of a kitten just born in a pet store owned by a man who believes in the power of magic.
As the ghost gains its footing in the human world, Peter, Sam, and Bianca all see that Sam is changed, but assume her insatiable hunger and diminished vocabulary is a result of the coma. Blinded by their love for Sam and placated by the promises of recovery, each of Sam’s loved ones attempts to win her favor, not recognizing their desire for Sam is now being reflected by the nature of the hungry ghost itself.
By the time Sam is released from the hospital on Thanksgiving, the ghost is ready to take control and claim what it truly wants—starting with Sam's family, who have come to enjoy the holiday feast. Peter, Madeline, and Bianca are forced to abandon their own selfish pursuits for Sam when it becomes clear that the woman they once craved so desperately may be lost to them forever. With the help of a mysterious kitten with strikingly familiar eyes, Peter and Madeline will have to simultaneously stop Sam and let her go before The Hungry Ghost destroys them—and everyone else Sam once loved.
In this unforgivably bold and LGTBTQ+ positive novella, Dalena Storm weaves an unsettling tale about the accidental and oft-consuming nature of unrequited desire. One part ghost story and one part tragedy, The Hungry Ghost illustrates that sometimes the farther out of reach something is, the more desirable it seems.
“The Hungry Ghost is a novel about desire and how when taken to its extreme, desire can become a consuming, violent, and even destructive force,” says Storm. “Though The Hungry Ghost a bit of a thriller, I think it’s also rather heartwarming—and is a testament to how the greatest loves can survive even death—though perhaps not in the way you might think.”
The Hungry Ghost will be available in paperback and e-book formats on June 11, 2019.
ISBN (print): 978-1-7329357-5-4 | ISBN (epub): 978-1-7329357-6-1
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AN UNLIKELY HERO GOES SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS. MUCH TO HIS CHAGRIN, HE FINDS THEM.
The Old Country hasn’t seen the end of Peril.
Where do goblins come from? Why do they only turn up in the Old Country, and why do they like swearing so much?
In the second installment of Sam Hooker’s Terribly Serious Darkness series, Soul Remains [Black Spot Books, April 23, 2019] sees Sloot Peril—a “hero” who’s staunchly averse to heroics—go searching for answers. Much to his chagrin, he finds them.
Everything changed after the Fall of Salzstadt, but try telling that to the people of the city, whose capacity for denial is unmatched. They have yet to acknowledge that Vlad the Invader cut a bloody swath through their city, that the dead are walking the streets, or that the Domnitor—long may he reign—has fled to wherever despots go on very long vacations while goblin infestations take care of themselves.
The worst of villains holds all of the power, unspeakable dark forces are on the rise, and everyone wants to kidnap the Domnitor—long may he reign—for their own nefarious ends. If all of that weren’t bad enough, Sloot’s got the fate of his own soul to worry about.
Can Sloot’s girlfriend help him save the Old Country from annihilation? Is Myrtle really even his girlfriend? If all goes well for Sloot—which it never does—he might just sort it all out before the Dark swallows them all up.
With the same absurdist humor that drew readers to Peril in the Old Country, Soul Remains is a farcical tale of dystopian fantasy, told as only Sam Hooker can tell it—and with a hero as unlikely and endearing as Sloot Peril.
“The best heroes want nothing to do with heroics,” says Hooker. “Well, not the best ones. The ones who are the most fun to write about, at least. Peril in the Old Country was a tour de farce, the first in a series of torments to be visited upon Sloot Peril. In Soul Remains, he'll find out that death is the least of his worries.”
PRAISE FOR SAM HOOKER
"Hooker demonstrates a delightfully firm grasp on absurdist fantasy...a gleeful caper rife with literary influences." - Publishers Weekly
"Five stars.... the best kind of bad fun." - Foreword Reviews
"A kaleidoscope of absurdist humor, stunning imagery, and a fantastical plot. Hooker is an expert when it comes to dark humor, and it clearly shows." - Booktrib
"Darker than the Douglas Adams universe, but lighter than Game Of Thrones, Peril In The Old Country hooks you in with its intriguing world-building, compelling characters, fantastical elements, interesting twists on the supernatural, and perfectly absurd dark humor." - Geeks of Doom
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BLACK SPOT BOOKS CELEBRATES 1ST ANNIVERSARY, NEW PARTNERSHIPS
NEW JERSEY (NOVEMBER 12, 2018) – Black Spot Books, an independent press specializing in speculative fiction, celebrates its first anniversary this month, along with a new distribution partnership and a 2019 catalog of upcoming titles from award-winning authors, new voices, and sequels to several of the house’s first year best sellers.
Since launching in November 2017, Black Spot Books opened its doors in January 2018 with a frontlist of engaging novels from fresh American voices, many by debut authors. With a growing catalog of titles that span from urban fantasy, to dystopian futures, historical fiction, and psychological thrillers, Black Spot Books has thrived by carving a niche in the market and building partnerships, including its relationship with literary publicity group Smith Publicity, and its new exclusive distribution partnership with Small Press United and the Independent Publishers Group.
The most rewarding aspect of the past year, says Black Spot Books Owner and Publisher Lindy Ryan, has been in doing exactly what she set out to do: operate under the guiding principles of passion, creativity, and investment in the long-term success of books and their authors. “We wanted to forge a new publishing company that focused on bringing great new books to market from authors who may not have found a home with the large publishing houses” says Ryan.
“Our culture as a publisher is based on collaboration, both internally with our authors and team members, and with the industry at large. As we’ve solidified our place in the publishing community, our efforts have been guided by our passions as book lovers first and producers second. We’ve brought fresh new voices to market, published boundary-challenging fiction from new and emerging writers who have stories we believe in—and that’s exactly what we will continue to do.”
Keeping sights set on long-term success, Black Spot Books has entered an exclusive distribution partnership with Small Press United, a division of the Independent Publishers Group, the distributor renowned for bringing titles to an industry-wide level through the widest variety of sales channels. Global distribution will continue through Ingram, with the same high level of quality and service that buyers have come to expect from Black Spot Books in its first year. For publisher brand and title-specific marketing, Black Spot Books also plans to maintain and expand its ongoing relationship with Smith Publicity.
Ending the year with the highly-anticipated political dystopian title The Absolved (Dec 2018) from Matthew Binder, Black Spot Books’ 2019 catalog will feature new titles from award-winning and debut authors, including the houses’ first young adult science-fiction title, Apocalypse Five (Feb 2019) by USA Today best-selling author Stacey Rourke and The Hungry Ghost (June 2019) a magical realism thriller from debut author Dalena Storm. Sequels, too, are coming in 2019 from Black Spot Books. Fans of Sam Hooker’s Terribly Serious Darkness series (Peril in the Old Country) can look forward to Soul Remains in April, as well as And Then There Were Dragons, the second installment in Alcy Leyva’s Shades of Hell Series (And Then There Were Crows), planned for July.
“I am grateful for the support and community we’ve built in our first year at Black Spot Books,” says Ryan. “Building a new small press from scratch is a labor of love, and it truly takes a team of dedicated, creative, and passionate people. I couldn’t be happier with where we’ve ended our first year as the new kid on the block, and I am looking forward to continuing to be part of this industry for many years to come.”
ABOUT BLACK SPOT BOOKS:
Black Spot Books is a traditional small-press publisher specializing in speculative fiction, including titles in dark humor, fantasy, paranormal and horror. Learn more about Black Spot Books at http://www.blackspotbooks.com.
ABOUT SMALL PRESS UNITED:
Small Press United (SPU) is a major distribution option, for new and small publishers, from IPG, the independent press distributor renowned for bringing titles to an industry-wide level through the widest variety of sales channels. SPU shares IPG’s sales force throughout the U.S. and Canada
to reach thousands of accounts, including chain and independent bookstores, online retailers, national wholesalers, library and specialty wholesalers, gift and specialty retail, museums, and more.
Learn more about Black Spot Books at www.blackspotbooks.com and connect on Twitter @BlackSpotBooks, Instagram @BlackSpotBooks), and Facebook (www.facebook.com/BlackSpotBooks/).
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TEAM LEADER DETROIT MUST DEFEND HER TEAM AND HER HUMANITY WHEN THE BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE OF EARTH BEGINS
Celebrity Combat Soldiers Fight to Save Earth in a Dystopian Sci-Fi Adventure
The end of the world is coming. How or when, scientists can’t agree upon. For decades, Earth’s best line of defense has been a team of young soldiers known as the Apocalypse Five, forced into virtual reality simulations to train for Doom’s Day. But, this is no game. Death on the grid is brutally final, and calls up the next in a long line of cadets. Stationed aboard the AT-1-NS Starship, the A5 are celebrities thrust into the limelight by a calling they didn’t choose.
All it takes is one unscheduled mission, showing seventeen-year-old team leader Detroit a harsh and unfathomable reality, to shake the A5’s belief in all they thought they knew. After questioning people with the power to destroy them, the team is framed for a crime they didn’t commit and marked for death. Now, the hunt is on. Can the Apocalypse Five expose the truth the starship would kill to keep hidden? Or, will their bravery end in a public execution?
In Apocalypse Five [Black Spot Books, February 12, 2019] a team of specially trained combat soldiers will face off against everything they’ve been trained to believe is true when they discover the reality of Earth’s current status isn’t what they’ve been led to believe. Worse, they might just be fighting for the wrong side. The problem is, they still need to survive to do anything about it.
Apocalypse Five is a unique dystopian adventure that takes a look at a worst possible scenario for Earth’s future through a lens of some of today’s most powerful themes. It focuses on empowerment, inclusion, and the call for unheard voices to rise, with a diverse cast of characters readers won’t be able to resist cheering for.
“I won’t lie, I fell in love with Detroit and her entire team while writing Apocalypse Five,” says Rourke. “They became more than characters, but a beautiful representation of the strength of family. I am beyond thrilled that Black Spot Books shares my same passion for this project! I invite readers to buckle in for this sci-fi adventure to the stars, and join team leader Detroit and her crew as they fight o save Humanity in Apocalypse Five. And—as always—have a pleasant apocalypse.”
Apocalypse Five will be available in paperback and e-book formats through all major retailers and distributors on February 12, 2019.
ISBN (print): 978-1-7326134-1-6
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-7326134-2-3
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AUTOMATION UNRAVELS THE FABRIC OF AMERICAN SOCIETY IN A NOT-SO UNBELIEVABLE FUTURE
Automation Unravels the Fabric of American Society In A Not-So Unbelievable Future
“Dramatic and well written, this dystopian trip to a robotic future has everything: lust, law, medicine, betrayal, politics—even love. As humans struggle to retrieve their humanity from the robots who have taken their jobs and self worth, one man—a doctor— has the opportunity to be a hero or villain.”
- Alan Dershowitz
“With touches of Vonnegut and Huxley, Binder delivers a darkly funny look at a future we’re most likely stuck with.” – Seth Meyers
It’s 2036. Henri is a wealthy physician, husband, father, and serial philanderer. He is also one of the relatively few people to still have a job. Automation and other technological advances have led to unemployment so severe that many people are no longer expected to work and now known as “The Absolved.”
Meanwhile, it’s election season, and a candidate from a radical fringe party called The Luddites is calling for an end to the “Divine Rights of Machines.” After Henri is displaced from his job, two Luddite sympathizers—whom Henri has befriended at his local bar—frame him for an anti-technology terrorist act. The prospect of Henri’s salvation comes at the cost of foregoing his guiding principles in life. This new vision for the world, after all, just might prove better than the technological advancements that, paradoxically, have “left humanity out in the cold.”
The Absolved [Black Spot Books, December 4, 2018] examines society and the unanticipated consequences of rapid technological advancement – and our reliance on it – as its protagonist faces off against a future teetering between a utopian leisure culture and a world of boredom and vice.
“While futurists promise the ushering in of a utopian leisure culture, it’s my belief that without work to provide us with a sense of purpose and personal fulfillment people will simply fall victim to boredom and vice,” says Binder. “The Absolved doesn’t purport to provide answers, only to detail the unsustainability of a system that does not work for the majority of the people it serves.”
THE ABSOLVED will be available in paperback and e-book formats through all major retailers and distributors on December 4, 2018.
ISBN (print): 978-1-7324007-2-6
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-7324007-3-3
Pre-order it today from Black Spot Books.
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